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Among the more typical scenarios that have led to farrier injuries is the presence of dogs in the shoeing aisle.
Broken cross-ties, scattered shoeing nails, neat slices of hoof trimmings and empty bandage wrappers litter an otherwise clean barn aisle. Like a crime scene investigation, it appears someone got in trouble while shoeing. Even a good hoof knife got left behind. It looks like the previous farrier working in this barn left in a hurry.
Suddenly, two dogs race past me in the cross-aisle, playing, growling and tumbling. I’d bet they know something about what caused this situation.
Over the years, I’ve gotten hurt while shoeing horses in some really dumb and avoidable ways. While I can’t eliminate every potential problem, I can try to manage better those conditions that have injured me — or the horse — in the past. Trimming the hoof, fitting the shoe, nailing and clinching while balancing a horse on three legs is work enough without the needless distractions found in some work areas.
Distractions to the horse often pop up without warning, since horses can spook for relatively benign reasons. Yet one of the most apparently natural of all scenarios has brought me more trouble than almost anything else: the presence of dogs in the shoeing aisle.
Dogs are so closely associated with horses, stables and horse owners that speaking out against them being around horses almost seems sacrilegious. It seems like Jack Russells, Labs, Corgies, Shelties and Rottweilers all want…